4 Ways to Maximize your Driving Time

How to be productive during your commute

Handsome young businessman looks back over his shoulder while in a car. Horizontal shot.

The leaders driving time no longer needs to be unproductive. You can recapture the usually wasted or unproductive time during your driving time. Here are 4 suggestions on how you can maximize your driving time.

1. Personal growth

To many times I’ve heard the excuse of not having enough time as the primary reason a person does not engage in personal growth. For leaders, time seems to be a scarce commodity. To overcome this block you can turn your driving time into personal growth time. This can be done by listening to audio content whether it’s an audio book, podcast (Here are 10 Podcasts to put on your playlist), or audio lesson. The University of Southern California discovered “that if you live in a metropolitan area and drive 12,000 miles a year you can acquire the equivalent of two years of college education in three years’ time by listening to educational information in your car.” No matter where you live you probably spend some amount of time driving or commuting by public transportation. Make sure you maximize this time by listening to personal growth content.

2. Thinking

My thinking time is usually done on my commute to or from work. There are two ways I take time to think. First, after spending time listening to audio content, this is what sparks my creativity, thoughts, and/or ideas. After hearing a noteworthy idea or thought I turn off the content and think about it more in depth. The second ways is by having a pre-established idea or thought to think about and turn off a music or audio content so I can think on it. Either way, I make sure to have a voice recorder (I use the recorder on my phone) near so I can capture any ideas or thoughts. You can maximize your driving time by turning it into thinking time. I suggest implementing one of the above thinking methods. You can either pre-establish what you will think about or listen to personal growth content to spark your ideas, making sure to have a safe way to capture your thoughts.

3. Phone time

Whether it be personal or professional you can make your driving time a period where you are calling and connecting with the different people in your life. Since leadership is a people business we can greatly benefit from calling those we need to communicate with or stay in contact with. I’m returning to the habit of weekly connecting or reconnecting with different people during my 40 minute commute. When I’ve previously done this it allowed me to deepen my friendships with those closest to me and connect with likeminded people from online. I suggest writing down a list of people you want to connect or build a stronger relationship with and then schedule time to talk with them during your driving time (Remember to do this safely with a hands-free device).

4. Relaxing time

The role of a leader can be demanding and challenging. You can take your driving time to relax and decompress from your day. To listen to music, roll down the windows for fresh air, or allow your body and mind to relax and wander. It can be a perfect time to do absolutely nothing, besides driving. This can especially be beneficial, for you and your family, while driving home after a difficult day at work. I’ve consistently had to set aside my scheduled personal growth and thinking time to rejuvenate. Taking time to relax can be a valuable thing for you and the different roles you have.

Questions: How do you maximize your drive time? Do you implement any of the 4 above points during your drive?

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  • I have done them all at different times. For me now I seem to focus more on thinking and relaxing. This means the radio is off so I can be alone with my thoughts.

    • Awesome! Thank you for taking the time to read
      and comment:)

  • I love windshield time for thinking and relaxing when on my own and for connecting when others are with me. Drive time has given me some of the best moments with family and friends.

    • That’s great to hear! Thank you for sharing.

  • Great post-I used to spend 3 hours daily on the road. I played music and listen to CD’s of studies that I might not find the time to do later. Turned into valuable time for me.

    • Hi Allen,

      That’s a lot of driving time. Glad you were able to maximize it. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • Good ideas, Dan. I practice all of the above as well. It’s amazing what you can see stopped at a traffic light! It’s all about perspective!

    • Awesome! Great thought, we can learn by observing. Thank you for sharing.

  • Ralph Mayhew

    Love it Dan!! Podcasts is a good one for me. I’ve also found an Audio bible is great strategy too.

    • Glad you enjoyed it! An audio bible sounds great!

  • Love all your ideas for the commute, Dan. My commute is about 5 minutes, so it’s not long enough for much! I usually use the time to think or pray, but if I’m driving long distances, like today when I went to Missoula, I love listening to podcasts.

    • Thank you :) 5 minutes is not long, praying is a great way to use those few minutes. Thank you for sharing.